90 Miles From Tyranny : A woman who accused a former colonel of rape will be forced to pay millions in defamation damages

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Monday, October 1, 2018

A woman who accused a former colonel of rape will be forced to pay millions in defamation damages

Retired Col David Riggins, pictured here as deputy director of the U.S. Army Acquisition
 Support Center, on Aug. 1, 2017, won a defamation lawsuit against a woman who
claimed he raped her while they were both cadets at West Point. (Bob Coultas/Army)
Former West Point cadet Susan Shannon took to her blog in 2013 to recount the story of being raped by a fellow cadet in 1986 while at the military academy.

Her accusation came amid a storm of press coverage about the prominence of sexual assault in the military, and it led to a criminal investigation and the end of the fellow cadet’s Army career.

The problem, a Virginia court found on Aug. 1, is that it wasn’t true, and in naming the colonel whom she claimed raped her, she defamed him to the tune of $8.4 million, the Associated Press reported Aug. 11

A Fairfax County jury sided with retired Col. David ”Wil” Riggins, who filed a lawsuit in Virginia district court back in 2014, when it became apparent that he would lose his nomination for promotion to one-star general after Shannon’s post came to the attention of Army leadership. The post also led the Army to launch a criminal investigation.

“The allegations of rape were investigated by U.S. Army [Criminal Investigation Command], and it was determined that there was no testimonial or physical evidence to corroborate Defendant Susan Shannon‘s statements concern Colonel David W. Riggins,” according to the lawsuit.

Shannon alleged in a post on her Wordpress blog, “Short Little Rebel,” that Riggins raped her after she‘d blacked out from drinking beer at Eisenhower Hall on campus.

“I felt the need to tell the story about a rape of a soldier I personally know: that soldier is me,” she wrote on July 15, 2013. ”The man who raped me, Will riggings [sic], class of 1987, is now a Colonel in the Army. The rape is the reason I left West Point. So, while his military career is soaring, I left mine far behind.”

In his filing, Riggins poked holes in her story, arguing that cadets are never served beer on campus and, at the time, were not allowed to drink at all. He also said he did not have a car and couldn’t have had one on campus to...Read More HERE

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